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and the commitment of u.s. troops overseas, but also with respect to the day to day decisions that the secretary must make to ensure that our men and women in uniform and their families received the support and assistance they need and deserve. it would be a positive message for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in harm's way around the world to know that one of their own holds the highest office in the department of defense, and that he has their backs. senator hagel, you would be in position to make key decisions on afghanistan. the secretary of defense is called upon to advise the president on the size and mission of a post-2014 so- called residual force, and the pace of the drawdown between now and the end of 2014. the key to this transition is ensuring the readiness and ability of afghan security forces to take over the defense of their own country. i always believed that would be our main mission and its key to success. during my trip to afghanistan with senator jack reed last month, we heard from u.s. commanders on the ground that afghan security forces are operating on their own on mo
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